Should I Turn Off Water Heater If Water Is Off [Inc. Gas & Electric]?

A water heater is an essential part of everyone’s daily life. It is necessary to do laundry, take showers, and do dishes. Since it is usually used daily, it is always on. However, there are occasions when considering the maintenance of the unit is essential.

You may wonder if the water heater needs to switch off if the water is off. Well, we've researched this matter thoroughly, and here's what we got.

You should shut off the water heater if you let the water off for a long time or there is no more water in the tank. You can leave the water heater on for brief shutoffs until the cold or hot water starts flowing again without delay.

In this post, we'll go into more detail on when to turn off your water heater. We'll also explain how to turn off the water heater if necessary and why some people choose not to do so. Let's get into further detail below!

How Do Water Heaters Work?

There are several configurations for water heaters. The heater itself may heat the water with gas or electricity for a tank type. The water is kept in the tank.

The tank is where the water is kept. Gallons of hot water are always available when you need them due to the tank and the heating element.

When you switch on the hot water, the heater restarts heating when the hot water exits via the incoming water line and the cold water fill the tank. The inner tank frequently has a covering that resists corrosion.

The coating may deteriorate if the tank becomes heated yet is dry.

independent heating system in boiler-room

Moreover, there are other types of water heaters, and they are known as tankless or instant. When hot water is required, tankless heaters are automatically turned on even if they are typically idle most of the time.

These take longer to warm up than standard heaters and provide fewer gallons of hot water per minute. However, they consume almost no energy when hot water is not used.

Despite the potential for significant energy savings, it can initially cost up to three times as much as a standard water heater setup.

Should I Turn Off Water Heater If My Water Is Off?

Homeowners usually turn off the gas or electricity to a water heater if the water is turned off before pressure valves became a thing.

The cause of this was that whenever the water heater turned on to heat its reservoir, the water would expand and pressurize to the point where the tank or a pipe would burst as a result of the pressure.

Heating water would gradually expand into the municipal system as long as the inlet valve to the circulation system was left open, which prevented pressure buildup.

That advice is still sound today because many overpressures or overtemperature valves discharge into undesirable areas.

Water damage, electrical issues, and other issues could result from such. The valve's functionality could be compromised at the discharge, leading to overpressurization.

Plumber repairing an hot-water heater

Usually, you will be left unsure about whether or not to turn off your water heater. And these are the guidelines for you:

Turning Off A Water Heater

It's better to turn off the heater or the water inlet at the tank if your water will be off for an extended time to avoid siphoning, unwanted discharge, and dangerous overpressurization.

The water heater's inside is frequently covered with components that can burn up if there is no water in the tank.

Some experts cite water loss in a water tank as one of the leading causes of explosions, and turning off the water heater is necessary.

However, if your heating system fails, leave as much hot water as possible in the tank to keep it from freezing.

When Should I Turn On My Water Heater?

It is preferable to leave your water on if it will only be off shortly.

The pressure inside the tank will be the same as the pressure in your water because the water heater relies on water pressure to produce hot water.

There won't be any output water pressure because there isn't any inlet water pressure.

How To Turn Off The Water Heater?

Understanding how to turn off your water heater when necessary is crucial. It is not as simple as powering down the unit. To avoid problems in the future, you must carefully shut down the unit.

To turn off the water heater securely, follow these instructions.

instructions how to turn off home water heater. Should I Turn Off Water Heater If Water Is Off [Inc. Gas & Electric]

1. Locate The Water Heater

These are typically located in the garage or attic, or utility closets.

2. Shut Off The Gas Or Electricity Power Source

Turn the thermostat's dial from the ON to the OFF position if you have a gas system. Find your home's breaker box if you have an electric water heater.

These are typically found in the garage or the house's external wall. Find the circuit breaker that powers your heater and put it in the OFF position.

3. Cool The Hot Water Down

It's crucial first to cool the water down. In just three seconds, water at 140°F can result in 2-degree burns. Water will no longer be heating now that the electricity is down.

Turn on a hot faucet at one of your sinks to cool the water. Keep it running until the water feels lukewarm, at the very least, without adding any cold water and on the "full hot" setting.

This shows that the water is losing heat, making it safe to finish the shutdown process.

4. Shut Off The Water Supply

If your water heater is installed correctly, there is no shutdown at the hot water output. Because there isn't a valve, the tank can't maintain a safe internal pressure balance. Accordingly, the only water valve you'll probably have is the cold one.

If there are two valves, you must identify which one is connected to the cold water supply. You should find the cold water valve on the right side of the water heater.

Try touching the pipes if you can't determine them. The available cold water should feel cold to the touch. After running the hot water from the previous step, the hot water intake will remain warm.

Tag the valves to know which one you need to shut off. When the water has cooled sufficiently, you can turn the valve off to cut the water to the valve.

To turn it off, turn the water valve's handle clockwise until it stops. Turn off the house's primary water valve if the water doesn't cease on its own.

5. Drain The Water Heater Tank

Draining the tank is the last step. It is not necessary to drain the tank for simple element testing and inspection. Be careful to drain the tank first if you need to replace a part or are turning off the tank for a while.

To remove sediment, it's crucial to drain the tank periodically. Sediment buildup may harm the different parts, necessitating service calls sooner rather than later.

Connect a hose to the drain valve at the base of the tank. Run the other end of the hose to a lower location where you may safely drain hot, rusted water.

Click here to see this hose on Amazon.

For you to visualize how it has been done, a video demonstration of properly turning off the water heater is shown on YouTube below.

Why Do Some People Refuse To Turn Off Their Water Heaters Even When The House Water Is Shut Off?

Some people find the thought of ever turning off their water heater repulsive. Why is that? Jump ropes are necessary to reactivate water heaters, especially older models with tanks.

Also, lighting a pilot light is frequently required. The unit is heated with the aid of the pilot light. Sometimes lighting the pilot light is simple.

Starting a water heater's pilot light might be a hassle. The placement of the unit may have an impact on this. For example, starting a water heater in a damp, dark basement will be more challenging.

Another, getting hot water will take some time. No one likes taking a cold shower. Having a water heater is meant to provide hot water. Thus this will rely on how efficient the unit is.

There are other ways that others do it instead of turning off their water heater, such as setting your water heater's thermostat lower or switching to "vacation" mode when you're going on vacation or not using it for a long time.

Doing this can cut back on the gas/electricity your model uses while you're away.

Most recent water heater types feature this vacation setting, typically identified on the thermostat as "VAC."

In "VAC" mode, the water temperature is typically lowered to 50°F so that your water heater doesn't have to exert as much energy to maintain a constant water temperature of 120-130°F as it would in regular operation.

This setting also maintains a moderate temperature in the water to avoid overworking your unit when you turn it back on.

If you don’t see the "VAC" option, reduce the water heater's thermostat to 50-70°F. The outcome is the same as in vacation mode.

man hands setting the temperature of water in Electric Boiler. Should I Turn Off Water Heater If Water Is Off [Inc. Gas & Electric]


You don't need the water heater off if you turn the water off most of the time. However, turning off the water heater is necessary if you've had your water shut off for an extended period of time and used all the water in the tank. When in doubt, get in touch with a professional.

Made it to the end? Check out these related posts!

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